For the November/December issue of Poets & Writers magazine, I wrote an article about, which is a website aiming to work around the typical “it’s who you know” mechanisms of publishing. If you’ve ever been frustrated by rounds of rejection letters from agents and publishers (ugh, don’t they hurt?) you might want to check out the site, or at least the article, which you can read here.

I started my agent hunt in 2002 with a completely different non-fiction book than The Jersey Shore, Atlantic City to Cape May: Great Destinations: A Complete Guide: Including the Wildwoods (Great Destinations) . The proposal went through a lot of agents, from those who sent back a form rejection to those who were excited about the book…until they read the manuscript after which it was rejected.

I guess there’s a happy ending to that story if not that particular book since my first book is coming out in May, but I still don’t have an agent. I brokered the deal with Countryman Press on my own because I wanted to write this book for them instead of, for example, shopping it around to other publishers. I’m was also comfortable negotiating the book contract since I handle my magazine contracts solo.

I don’t know if I’ll try to get an agent for book two, whatever book two may be. If I go back to that original non-fiction manuscript? Absolutely. Hopefully I’ll have better luck the second time around.

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Jen Miller

Jen Miller

Jen A. Miller is a an author and freelance writer. Her memoir, Running a Love Story, was a Philadelphia Inquirer best book of the year. Her work has appeared in the New York Times, Washington Post, SELF, Buzzfeed and the Guardian, among others.

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